Guess who’s biz-ack!

Things are looking up for Marvin Williams and the Hawks!

Things are looking up for Marvin Williams and the Hawks!

HAWKSVILLE - One and it’s done.

That’s it for the Hawks.

Win one more game (Friday against Indiana at Philips Arena) and the race for the fourth spot and home court advantage in the first round of the playoffs is done.

But believe it or not, the Hawks could have something even more important going on at Philips Arena tomorrow night in the form of Marvin Williams returning to action after a 16-game absence because of a lower back injury.

Williams had what was initially believed to be an injury that would sideline him for the remainder of the season. But he’ll be back, possibly tonight against Indiana and certainly by the playoffs.

I’ve seen all the chatter back and forth around here about Marvin not being missed (back when the Hawks rolled through that March homestand unblemished and without him). Then the tide changed and the Hawks’ struggled and the pro-Marvin crowd resurfaced to campaign for their guy.

I’m rollin’ with the pro-Marvin crowd on this one folks.

Show me a team that doesn’t want to be at full strength and I’ll … well, you can’t. No one in the NBA is that foolish. You think the Celtics would rather play without Kevin Garnett? Or the Lakers would rather play without Andrew Bynum? I don’t care that they’re winning without him. They’d rather have him that not.

Same goes for any team that’s without a starter this time of year.

And one last time, heading into tonight’s games the Hawks’ magic number for that No. 4 spot is one. One more win by the Hawks, or a loss by both Miami and Philadelphia locks that spot up.

On to some other news:

ROAD WINNERS - In the aftermath of the Hawks’ successful two-game road trip to Toronto and Milwaukee a discussion stirred about when was the last time the Hawks won road games on back-to-back days? The Mad VP and his crew took it a step further Thursday with some research that turned up and even crazier nugget than I imagined.

I had just discovered NWA the last time the Hawks won road games on back-to-back nights.

I had just discovered NWA the last time the Hawks won road games on back-to-back nights.

November of 1988 (that’s right, 1988 not 1998) is the last time the Hawks won back-to-back road games while also overcoming halftime deficits. Sometimes, I honestly forget just how deep the pool of futility has been for Hawks fans the last 15 years or so.

Most of us were in junior high or something the last time the Hawks pulled of what they did this week.

It’s stunning when you really think about it.

JOE “CRUNCH TIME” JOHNSON - Much has been made of the Hawks’ (over)reliance on captain and All-Star Joe Johnson on the offensive end of the floor. And I’ll be the first to admit that I don’t like it for all sort of reasons (too much heat on your best player and star, marginalizes the talents of four other guys on the floor, gives defenses an easy scouting report to defend you, etc.).

On the flip side, Johnson does rank among the league’s elite players in fourth quarter scoring (he’s among the top six). The other five guys on the list are Dwyane Wade, LeBron James, Kobe Bryant, Chris Paul and Brandon Roy. Not bad company. Unfortunately, Johnson also leads the league in minutes this season, too.

PRACTICE SQUAD - You don’t often hear about the work that the guys that don’t play in games do behind the scenes. But when I hit the practice floor for practice Thursday morning, I first noticed Marvin on the floor working out with the seven other guys in an intense half court game. The very next thing that struck me was how hard Mario West and Solomon Jones were going at him, almost like they were testing him for the Indiana game.

And they didn’t let up the entire time. West is a practice demon, a guy that never eases up – which is why I’m never surprised to see him inserted into a game to change the pace. He’s gone after Bryant, James and anyone else Hawks coach Mike Woodson has felt like throwing him at this year.

Tangle with Mario West at your own peril.

Tangle with Mario West at your own peril.

Williams was certainly appreciative of their work. “Those cats go so hard,” Williams said. “Rio is like that when he walks into the locker room for practice. He’s always going 100 miles an hour. And Solo has done this all year. Normally, I just watch those guys go at it on practice days like this. Right now, though, I need them to help me get it back. So I’m just glad all these guys are here.”

I wouldn’t be surprised to see a whole lot of West tonight against Indiana.

Williams will probably see limited minutes if he does return. And Mo Evans is not expected to be with the team due to a personal family matter, so West might actually be inserted into the starting lineup if the Hawks decide to stick with their normal set instead of using the big lineup with Zaza Pachulia with Al Horford and Josh Smith across the frontline.

With just one game needed to secure that fourth spot and home court advantage, West might be just the energy boost the Hawks need to help them get past these sluggish first half starts that have plagued them recently.

244 comments Add your comment

Shaunty

April 9th, 2009
7:41 pm

“Show me a team that doesn’t want to be at full strength ”

The Hawks don’t — that’s why they don’t play Speedy Claxton.

Garnett & Bynum >>>>> Duck

Samuel

April 9th, 2009
8:04 pm

Good work Cuz,

People here always criticize Woody for not playing his bench but there are plenty of ways for players to contribute. A team is usually as good as the competition they face in practice.

I’m glad to see Marvin back. He’s had a good season and hopefully he can get back close to that level for the playoffs.

Cuz, how dare you use the “N Word” on this blog. Man, what a group. I was kicking it in San Bernadino, California when Easy, Dre and Cube came on the scene. Dudes were “Supa Hard”.

On a nother note. I mentioned a sleeper in this year’s draft a few months back. Courtney Fells from NC State by way of Shannon, Mississippi. I’ve seen him play since he was something like the 6th grade. He’s a Front Street (Playground ledgend) in Tupelo. Sidney Lowe’s “jacked up” offense held him back for four years but he will break out in the pro game. Mark it down. Check out nbadraft.net, He’s tearing up the Portsmounth invitational or Go to youtube and serch Courtney Fells.

Our biggest game of the year comming up. We really need to win this and rest our starters the last two games. We don’t even need them to see the floor against Miami. Don’t give them nothing to boost their confidence.

Woody=COY

Astro Joe

April 9th, 2009
8:24 pm

Good stuff, Sekou. Pacers are running a lot of 3-guard sets with TJ and Jack so Mario may be able to get plenty of play Friday evening. Let’s make it happen Hawks. Bring it on home tomorrow and quiet the haters for the next few hours… until the playoffs begin.

Sekou Smith

April 9th, 2009
9:25 pm

Steamboat,
I rode around in the back of an ‘88 Pontiac Bonneville with two of my partners from high school the entire summer to make sure we knew every word on Straight Outta Compton. Changed my life. Ha.
No doubt that if you can lock up the No. 4 spot tomorrow night you give not only JJ but Bibby, Josh and Al a little rest before you dive into the playoffs. Last year, I didn’t advocate a break for the young fellas before the playoffs started. It was their first ride. Not this time around. They need a breather before the series starts. You want them to come into that thing with fresh legs and clear heads.

jpmoney

April 9th, 2009
9:48 pm

Shaunty, Obviously there is something wrong with speedy c. He must not fit with the coach or the team in some way. Chemistry is important in any team sport. Anyone who has ever had success on a team knows the importance of having everyone working together. We don’t need him, we just need to get the next guy on the bench to do his part when he comes in the game. West is my kind of player-unselfish, tenacious, energetic, and the most important team first!

Show me state

April 9th, 2009
10:04 pm

All in all let’s get this one win. Glad to here Marvin might comeback tomorrow and let’s have momentum going into the playoffs! Let’s Go Hawks!!!!!!

Show me state

April 9th, 2009
10:04 pm

I meant glad to hear Marvin might comeback tomorrow.

MannyT

April 9th, 2009
10:17 pm

Great news. Even if Marvin only contributes 15 mins/game in the playoffs, it will help.

I’m not getting into the middle of Woody and the bench tonight. I hope that Sekou is accurate that the heavy minute guys will get a little rest after securing the 4th seed.

BWAF

Melvin

April 9th, 2009
10:21 pm

It was good seeing my boy Al Horford (fellow Dominican), we’re likely joining forces this summer in the DR national team for the FIBA games -Charlie Villanueva.
Hopefully Big AL can recruit him to sign with the Hawks this summer although he’s a restricted Free Agent. However, it was reported that the Bucks are trying to cut payroll…

mississippi

April 9th, 2009
10:23 pm

The only team that seems to play better as a team without a starter is Houston. The Rockets don’t need mcgrady back for the playoffs. I know there’s no way he comes back but even if he could I don’t think they should use him.

Melvin

April 9th, 2009
10:45 pm

Philly lost to the Bulls tonite. They can keep those greasy Cheesesteaks…

Zach

April 9th, 2009
10:50 pm

Sekou,

I’m a big fan of Mario West, I think the energy he brings being out there with the starters motivates them on the defensive end. What do you think about him getting more minutes?

niremetal

April 9th, 2009
10:54 pm

So I’m taking a long enough break from the ol’ law books to parachute down here for a minute (just 4 more weeks, and this’ll all be over…).

Sekou,

Great to hear about Marvin’s return, though I hope everything’s alright with Mo’s family. It’ll be good to see the bench guys get some burn in the last few games, hopefully. If they make a good showing for themselves, maybe Woody will be a bit less afraid to use them in the playoffs. And before you call me crazy, recall that Woody used Solo and Acie for brief stretches in every game against the Celtics. I always figured that was because Solo and Acie made good showings in their brief minutes in the last 3 games of the regular season (which in turn allowed Josh and JJ to be a bit more fresh in the 4th each game). Hopefully past is prologue.

Melvin,

I love Villanueva’s game, but he would be a very poor fit with the Hawks. We need a legit 7 footer, not another PF/SF tweener – even one who is 6′11. He plays relatively soft defense, takes plays off, and doesn’t rebound as well as you’d like from a guy of his height. He’d just be splitting the same minutes that we’re already splitting between Horford, Josh, and Marvin.

Our top priorities this summer should be 1) extending JJ; 2) extending Marvin; and 3) acquiring a legit center. I’ve given Ray my theory on why Item 1 should be priority 1…I won’t bore y’all with all the details but suffice it to say that if we extend JJ, Atlanta will be a VERY attractive free agent destination for the 2010 free agent class because we’ll already have a ready-made Scottie Pippen on hand…

richbrave

April 9th, 2009
10:54 pm

Well, the HAWKS have matched my prediction for the season. Here’s hoping they exceed it.

Eazy E

April 9th, 2009
10:58 pm

Sekou,

You are now about to witness the strength of Hawks knowledge.

-E

Ed

April 9th, 2009
11:17 pm

I’ll tell you who’s back…that would be you Mr. Smith. Where have you been for so many days?

Sekou K. Smith

April 9th, 2009
11:27 pm

Classic line Easy, an all-time classic line. And Ed, the road whipped me. I was lucky to know my name when I woke up this morning. :) But we’re back on track now and steaming towards the playoffs. No letting up now.

Melvin

April 9th, 2009
11:30 pm

Niremetal, I think Charlie would be a good 6th man off the bench. He would get extended mins b/c his flexibility to play all 3 frontcourt positions. Keep in mind, we really don’t have a guy who could backup Josh. I agree we could use another big (although I would like to resign ZaZa), acquiring one that could play some 4 would be needed as well. Give me any two out of this group if we don’t resign ZaZa. – (McDyess, Stromile, Bass, Frye, Okur, Millsap).
As for the draft, I say pick BJ Mullens (Ohio State) or Blair (Pitt) if Teague (Wake Forest) or Maynor (VCU) is not available….

JerryWest

April 9th, 2009
11:34 pm

Great news.

I would love to see him play agaisnt Indiana and Memphis.

Since Miami and Memphis are back to back, I think he’d be wise to skip the Miami game. Miami might go rough on him that night.

JerryWest

April 9th, 2009
11:48 pm

Hope Mo’s family is ok.

Najeh Davenpoop

April 10th, 2009
12:36 am

The Hawks acquiring Villanueva would be like when the Braves acquired Albie Lopez in 2003. Just because a guy always plays great against your team doesn’t mean if you acquire him he will play great against everyone else. Villanueva is not that great — he just happens to play great against the Hawks.

kirkinga

April 10th, 2009
2:41 am

Najeh don’t forget the real risk with Albie was his extensive injury history. I don’t think Villanueva’s history is nearly as extensive and also he’s younger than Lopez was when we got him.

As to whether he’s great? Nope. But that doesn’t mean he can’t help us. I could see Woodson being more comfortable playing him than Solo.

For a team that lacks size and bulk up front, he’s worth consideration at least.

Here’s hoping Marvin can give us at least 20-25 minutes/game during the playoffs. I’m not buying that he’s completely healthy, but we’re going to need him to advance I believe.

Go Hawks!!

Big Ray

April 10th, 2009
3:19 am

Glad to hear about Marvin possibly coming back tonight. I hope that he doesn’t get overworked during the remainder of the season, or in the playoffs. I wouldn’t want his health risked, even though we really need him.

Lineup for tonight should be interesting, and we’ll probably see a decent dose of West. Hope Acie is available as well, and not having back issues still. We might even see a bit more of Solo, and perhaps a sliver of Hunter or Morris. Maybe Gardner. Who knows. Although any sightings of the last three could bring Astro Joe’s sarcasm to a whole new level….if that’s possible. Just wait for it….

Melvin,

If we don’t sign Zaza, give me any of those guys EXCEPT Stromile Swift. Dude is a dog, and plays like it. Sean Williams gets more burn than him…

Ill-logical,

Don’t know what you’re smokin’ over there, but please don’t pass it. Sounds like a bit more than a pipe dream. Still, nice ideas. But lay off the peyote….;)

Willie Coyote

April 10th, 2009
7:47 am

Yea, the team won some without Marvin but then they started struggling with rebounding at times and they missed him defensively. He plays solid D and he adds one more versitle big body to help with all those perimeter switches they do on D; not to mention he will add another perimeter scoring threat to spread the floor.

dap01

April 10th, 2009
8:02 am

Let’s go Marvin! Speedy is not playing because our ownership is too cheap to give up that insurance money and Woodson is too stubburn to realize that he could possible be of value for a small role.

Woodson does not realize that defense and penetration is needed at the point guard position.

Extend Marvin, extend JJ if the price is right, get a true center (no more tweeners) and get a point guard to help AC (Bibby at a role players salary?)

Khao$

April 10th, 2009
8:29 am

Eazy at the PG, Cube at PF, Ren at SG, Dre at C, and Yella at SF…Sekou you took us back man!

Sekou Smith

April 10th, 2009
9:18 am

Glad I could help Khao$. And Zach, a dude like Mario West would get plenty of minutes for me this time of year. You need an energy boost this time of year from your bench and he always provides it.

JerryWest

April 10th, 2009
9:27 am

[b] someone posted this in http://www.hawksquawk.net. [/b]

For every 3 that Smith takes there will be several times when he is standing behind the line and doesn’t get the ball or gets it and doesn’t take a 3. When he is standing behind the line:

-the defense doesn’t have to guard him, letting them focus on other guys.
-he isn’t getting offensive rebounds, part of the reason why he averages only 7.3 rebounds per game.
-he isn’t moving without the ball to get easy looks inside. Childress used to excel at this.
-when he does get the ball he is farther from the basket, making it tougher to drive.

Do you really think that Smith attempts a 3 every time he sets foot behind the line?

There is nothing good that comes from Smith standing behind the line. When he is standing behind the line he is doing exactly what the other team wants.

Mike is back

April 10th, 2009
9:43 am

Sekou, You’ll making me feel old…we was rocking
with Parliament Funkadelic, Bar-Kays, Rick James, Bootsy Rubber Band…all that
jazz during my high school days.
 

Sekou, the Hawks may have been much maligned for 15
years, but those statistics are misleading because there were some entertaining
teams to watch during that stretch. You think that’s bad, imagine being a
Hawks fan in the Military in the early 80s…the boys would always ask how many
rings you’ll got Mike…okay than shut the F up…Of course I never did…Heh
heh!!!
 

I’m still on the record for 48 wins…I didn’t know
that 48 win would lock down the 4th spot going into the season. Glad
I’ll be in the mix for the playoff.
 

Great to hear that Marvin is on the mend and expected to
play before the playoff…that’s a blessing for the team. I also hope Acie
continues to improve as well. They have an opportunity for redemption…if
memory serves me correct the Hawks was in a similar situation with Indy last
season and laid an egg. They can atone for that and send a message to the 5th.
Seed.
 

WELCOME BACK MARVIN, FINISH IT TO NITE
HAWKS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Daniel

April 10th, 2009
10:06 am

Great news, Marvin coming back, Acie coming back and playing decent. I like the idea of giving Mario more minutes in these last few games. He is definitely a spark plug and always makes plays. Also, gives the other players some rest. Although, I don’t care who we play or what the situation I never need to see Randolph Morris or Craig Claxton play again!!

Big B CH 99

April 10th, 2009
10:41 am

I’d love to see Mario get more minutes. He’s my favorite NBA player, as a Tech fan I loved watching him play in College. It’s so rare to find a D first NBA player.

ant banks

April 10th, 2009
10:54 am

what is goin’ on with postin’ on this blog? i post and don’t see anything.

i was really feelin’ the article by hbando about playin’ philly instead of miami. we really need to play philly, if we want to get out of the 1st round.

we can’t beat dwade and the refs

Marcus

April 10th, 2009
11:37 am

talk about time machine. 1st heard Easy-E down @ FAMU by my roomy, who bought his solo album…WC rap hadn’t hit hard down South yet, so NWAs 1st album wasn’t really flying off the shelves. Dr. Dre was kinda known from World Class Wrecking Krew and I think he had a single around ‘86/”87 (Surgery or something like that). One of my boys from Detroit had the 1st album and was trying to tell us but we weren’t hearing it. Once Gangsta, Gansta dropped, then Straight Outta Compton blew up (with MTVs large help) it was ova……

Hey Sekou,
Since March Madness is over, all SRs have exhausted eligibility, all these underclassmen are declaring for the draft, who would be the best fit for the Hawks?
Last week, I asked you a similar question about positions of need (G or bigs C, PF). Now I am kinda honing in on players. I am kinda feeling’ Scotty Reynolds from Villanova (if he decides to come out early) or VCU’s Eric Maynor…

darrell starks

April 10th, 2009
11:41 am

Welcome back MARVIN we need you. GO HAWKS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

darrell starks

April 10th, 2009
11:50 am

Now i hope woody can go deep in his bench rotation if so this team would be strong with a solid rotation or may be woody continue to be the same old woody with a 3man rotation FLIP, EVANS, ZAZA, this team will fail in the playoff in the 1st round if woody continue to be the same old woody. GO HAWKS!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Freshmaker

April 10th, 2009
11:54 am

Agreed Big B. The energy that Mario brings is invaluable in my opinion. The way he we dogged Kobe when the Lakers were in town was great, and the crowd loved it. I’d really like to see him on the court at the start of Q3. The Hawks usually come out of the half flat, and I think having him in would go a long way to correcting that.

ant banks

April 10th, 2009
12:02 pm

some interestin’ battles nba playoff race…

1st-the battle for 7th or 8th seed in the east. which team will give the clev the biggest test? which team is more likely to run clev 6 or 7 games, so that they will be worn out for us?

hopefully-we can beat philly or miami over 5 games and be rested up.

WHICH TEAM DO YOU THINK WILL GIVE CLEV THE BIGGEST FIT, SOFTENING THEM UP FOR THE HAWKS.

ant banks

April 10th, 2009
12:04 pm

2ND-the west is off the chain. seeds 4, 5, and 6 are tied!! utah and dallas are fightin’ like hell to keep from havin’ to play the lakers in the 1st round. this may be the tuffest race to the finish that i have ssen in awhile

terrell barron

April 10th, 2009
12:28 pm

How about a standing O’ for Marvin tonight? And no thanks to BJ Mullens. Nothing more than a career backup. Yeah he’s 7 ft., but he’s no better than Zaza. Probably worse. I thought we were trying to get a starting caliber center?? I see none in this draft after Thabeet, and he cant score. The best case scenario, would be to come out of this draft with a legit pg(Mills, Lawson, Flynn) or a banger pf/center like Dejuan Blair or Craig Brackens. We need some toughness off the bench. Mullens is as soft as tissue and plays very little defense. He’d be in Woody’s doghouse before the 1st practice. And just take the BPA in the 2nd rd.(Danny Green, Jeff Pendegraph, AJ Price, etc…

terrell barron

April 10th, 2009
1:15 pm

Ant Banks, I think the Bulls can steal a game at home vs Boston. That’s about it. Philly will get swept by Orlando without Thaddeous, and Cleveland will sweep Detroit.

GumbyWilliams

April 10th, 2009
1:34 pm

Well I must confess I was one of those guys who doubted Mike Woodson. All Woody did this year was guide the Hawks to a winning season and home court advantage in the first round of the playoffs. Not a bad accomplishment for someone who was probably seconds from losing his job. Regardless what anyone else thinks, I believe the Hawks have enough talent to win the NBA title this year. The reason why I say that is because they have and get shot blocking, defense, rebounding, assists and scoring, the five ingredients that you have to have to win big in the NBA. The Hawks get these things by committee and dont receive them from any one player. When ALL of the Hawks are playing at top efficiency, the sum of the parts are better than the whole and the Hawks are a dangerous team when they are playing at a high level. Just ask the Lakers about that the last time the Hawks faced them. Absolutely no contest. The Hawks have beaten Orlando and Cleveland this year, and you saw how the Hawks played Boston in last years playoffs. No team in the league scares the Hawks and the one team that I thought was going to win the title, San Antonio, wont win it this year because Manu Ginobli is out for the year and wont return this season. That leaves the door wide open for the Hawks to win their first title in many years. I’m positive that the Hawks will win the championship since they have enough talent to do so. The only team that would have stopped them is the Spurs; and the Spurs are done for the year because they dont have enough firepower without Manu Ginobli. So look for the Hawks to be champions of the basketball world; no disrespect to Cleveland, Orlando, Boston and the Lakers, but quite frankly, those teams are not good enough to keep up with the Hawks. Go Hawks!

Ken Strickland

April 10th, 2009
1:49 pm

MELVIN-while I’m not a follow Dominican, I love the country and the people. In fact, I’m seriously thinking of living there, at least for the winter months. I’m going over in May. I spend most of my time in Barahona when I’m there. What part are you from?

It’s playoff time, and all of the things Woodson did or didn’t do during the regular season is now water over the bridge. He, as well as his players, have to step up, make that extra effort and put everything else behind them. If Marvin can regain his gm by playoff time and Acie, Solo and Mario are given adequate time and opportunity to produce, we can become a force to deal with. The extra time both Flip and Evans received in Marvins absence will be a big bonus.

Tonights gm against Philly is a perfect test for our collective mental attitude. Instead of trying to compete with them by slowing the tempo, shortening the rotation and playing halfcourt ball, we should beat them at their own gm by out running, out jumping, out quicking and out defending them. We should use the remaining gms to show all of the other playoff teams what they’ll have to contend with if they have to play us. GOOD LUCK TONIGHT HAWKS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

terrell barron

April 10th, 2009
2:19 pm

Ken, we’re playing Indy, not Philly. Luckily.

Steve

April 10th, 2009
2:39 pm

I like our team, if everybody is healthy, we are a force to be reckoned with. Next season, if we get a legit center and a point guard – given the chemistry we have, and we are still such a young team – we could go to the championship series in the East. I would think it would be tough to go further than that however.

By the way, don’t get me wrong – really like Bibby, he’s just getting to the point in his career he should be shifting into a great backup role at PG.

Melvin

April 10th, 2009
2:56 pm

Ken, I’m not Dominican. I’m from the sweet USA and located in a state that have the 2nd highest umemployment rate and near the bottom in education and where the current Gov. don’t want to accept stimulus monies… My earlier post was a cut and paste quote by Charlie Villanueva… Sorry about the confusion…

Barry

April 10th, 2009
4:44 pm

Hey Y’all:

LETS GO HAWKS! LETS GO HAWKS! LETS GO HAWKS!! LETS GO HAWKS!!!!
LETS GO HAWKS!! LETS GO HAWKS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

SEE Y’ALL AT PHILLIPS!

“ATLANTA HAWKS, BOOM-BYE-YEAH!!!”

“SHOCK THE WORLD!!!”

SSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!!!!!!!
This is a SECRET from a HAWK FAN!!! TELL EVERYBODY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

brent

April 10th, 2009
5:05 pm

man i miss the old jerseys
especially the yellow ones
most classic jerseys ever
we should go back for real

DeadManWalking

April 10th, 2009
7:48 pm

“New York Knicks coach Mike D’Antoni was the most expensive hire of the past offseason, and it isn’t lost on league owners and GMs how little of an impact D’Antoni has made with the team. What’s more, D’Antoni is hurting himself internally as his representative relentlessly pushes GM Donnie Walsh to hire an assistant GM with close ties to the coach.

Through interviews with NBA front-office executives, agents and coaches, here’s a look at the possibilities for franchises with interim and vulnerable head coaches.

Sacramento Kings: Kings owners Joe and Gavin Maloof drove the firing of Rick Adelman and the ill-fated hirings of Eric Mussleman and Reggie Theus. This time, the basketball executives are trying to wrest control back. Multiple sources say the Kings have all but eliminated the possibility of retaining interim coach Kenny Natt and have targeted Eddie Jordan to replace him.

Jordan was the Kings coach for one season in 1997-98 under GM Geoff Petrie, but, ironically, former owner Jim Thomas pushed to fire him once Petrie made the franchise-changing moves for Chris Webber and Vlade Divac.

European coaches – Ettore Messina and David Blatt – also have been mentioned as possibilities, but multiple league sources say the Kings are locked on Jordan.

Washington Wizards: Saunders is the runaway favorite for the Wizards, who are determined to hire a winning, veteran coach for a win-now team. Johnson could be considered, but several sources say that Saunders is all but assured of a swift hiring once the regular season is done.

Toronto Raptors: After the inevitable firing of Sam Mitchell early in the season, the Raptors didn’t start to play consistently under interim Jay Triano until the past couple weeks. GM Bryan Colangelo is planning to keep Triano, with former Memphis Grizzlies coach Marc Iavaroni as his top assistant. After Iavaroni’s firing in Memphis this season, Colangelo invited him to spend time with the Raptors as a consultant.

New Jersey Nets: There’s significant belief inside and outside the organization that Lawrence Frank will be fired, but some reliable sources think Frank’s fate is still unresolved. If a change is made, GM Kiki Vandeweghe is expected to have the autonomy to make his mark on the organization. Several sources suggest that he will push for Messina, who has won two Euroleague titles with CSKA Moscow.

Messina has surfaced in several recent searches, and it seems just a matter of time until he gets an NBA job. Messina replaced D’Antoni as the coach of Benetton Treviso.

“Kiki will try to do something unorthodox,” one peer insisted.

Philadelphia 76ers: All indications are that the Sixers plan to stay with interim coach Tony DiLeo. The bigger issue for them is Elton Brand, who was lost for the season with a shoulder injury. Brand is just one season into an $84 million contract and the Sixers never figured out how to integrate him into a fast, young lineup.

Minnesota Timberwolves: Kevin McHale has enjoyed coaching these young Timberwolves, who remind him of a college team. He hasn’t made up his mind for sure, but most expect that he’ll return for a full season with the future All-Star frontcourt of Al Jefferson and Kevin Love.

Oklahoma City Thunder: Scott Brooks, the interim coach, likely will be brought back with a contract extension. As much as anything, Brooks oversaw the vigorous development of Kevin Durant.

Atlanta Hawks: Some suggest that expectations surrounding the Hawks could make Mike Woodson vulnerable should the team fail to advance a round in the playoffs.”

Now that is strange. This doesnt look like a COY candidates article.

Melvin

April 10th, 2009
7:54 pm

Great Job by Mario to start the game. He was definitely the “Spark Plug” as advertise. He brought plenty of energy and effort to get the Hawks off to a good start.

Big Ray

April 10th, 2009
7:56 pm

New Hacks blog up…